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President Ch?vez Increases Minimum Wage by 26.5 Percent

On Monday, April 25 President Hugo Chávez announced a 26.5-percent increase of the minimum wage, pushing it to $360 per month. The increase will benefit employees of the public and private sectors, retirees, pensioners and beneficiaries of the social program Misión Madres del Barrio.

During a ministerial meeting held at the Miraflores Presidential Palace, seat of the Venezuelan government, President Chávez explained that the increase will take place in two phases: 15 percent increase on May 1, and the remaining 10 percent increase by September 1.

Currently, the minimum wage in Venezuela is $284. With the 10 percent increase of September 1 the minimum wage in Venezuela will stand at “1,548 bolivares [$360], plus food stamps and other benefits that are part of the integral salary, as established in the law.”

The food stamp, or “ticket de alimentación” as it is known in Venezuela, is a food-based remuneration established in the Law of Food for Workers, according to which companies must grant (in addition to the salary) vouchers, tickets or an electronic card as a benefit to purchase food.

The salary increase will benefit 2,558,613 Venezuelans, without including employees of the private sector.

The minimum wage has been consecutively increased in Venezuela over the last 12 years as a means to vindicate the Venezuelan labor class, said the Venezuelan leader.

Additionally, Chávez highlighted that minimum wage in Venezuela is one of the highest of the region.

Over the last 11 years, the minimum wage in this South American country has increased 12 times, from $45 in 1999 to $284 with the last 2010 rise.

Food Benefit

President Hugo Chávez also announced an extension of the food benefit, or food stamp, in the private and public sectors. The Law of Food for Workers grants the benefit exclusively to workers earning three minimum salaries or less, and it has to be paid by companies with over 20 workers.

Nevertheless, President Chávez requested to change that law, within the framework of the Enabling Law, to make all companies pay this benefit even if they have one worker.

The Venezuelan president said that the current change seeks to include all workers in this benefit to improve their quality of life, including their families.

AVN/Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / April 25, 2011

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